Sunday, June 05, 2011

Clowny Lilac

Clowny Lilac by Ayala Moriel
Clowny Lilac, a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.

This spring I've been intrigued by the fresh flowers of lilacs, wisterias, heliotropes and violets and want to take on the challenge of creating them using my rather limited palette of natural raw aromatics.

This afternoon, before heading to the beach (yes, again!), I explored ways to recreate the ethereal, soft, sweet yet dewy aroma of lilacs. I've reached a certain "aha" moment with the scent strips, which translated well into an accord I blended. It actually was not great at all out of the bottle, but smelled very lilac-like on my skin early afternoon right after blending.

Sadly, how things begin is not how they end - the freshly concocted batches never smell the same after maturing. And they certainly do not smell the same to my nose after coming back from the beach... What I got by than was a balsamic jasmine with green undertones. Nope. Not lilac yet.

In Poucher's book, he differentiates formulating white lilac vs. purple lilac by the addition of indole to the white lilac formula. I think mine is a little indecisive, like the one in the picture - it's a little indolic, but also not. Despite the very short list of aromatics included, and the relative simplicity of some of them (natural extracts are comprised of tens if not hundreds of raw materials; but there are some where there is one ingredient that is highly dominant - i.e.: eugenol in cloves, which gives it its typical clove aroma) - it's in danger of being a soapy-balsamic mess. Pleasant, but not quite lilac-like.

I say sadly, but I don't really mean it. You have to enjoy the process, frustrations and failures included, to be able to carry on a perfumer's life. Success right away is never nearly as satisfying as one that was well earned, after exploring several routes.


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